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[Slashdot] - How the Telephone Failed Its Big Test During 1918's Spanish Flu Epidemic

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Fast Company's technology editor harrymcc writes: When the Spanish flu struck in 1918, the U.S. reacted in ways that sound eerily familiar, by closing public places and telling people to stay at home. The one technology that promised to make isolation less isolating was the telephone, which was used for commerce, education, and even news distribution. But the phone itself got caught up in the flu's damaging impact on society, and AT&T ended up running ads asking people not to make calls if at all possible. I wrote about this little-known tale of technology's promise and pitfalls for Fast Company. The article shows some strange glimpses of a very different time. "A New York Telephone ad even warned that operators might inquire about the nature of a call to ensure that it was truly necessary."

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